The Trouble with Residence Life

By Michael Ziegler 


When I first moved into residence, I was excited. The bed in my dorm room was bigger than the one I left at home (though it wasn’t filled with fun bouncy liquid). I had enough room to store all my stuff, and a window overlooking the courtyard from the second floor.

And yet it wasn’t quite as nice as I had hoped. The kitchen counter was only big enough to hold the appliances that came with the room and the lights flickered like they were auditioning for a B horror movie. The light bulb in the bathroom fell clean out of its socket and shattered while my roommate was on the toilet.

The shower had only two choices for water flow: high pressure and hot or low pressure and cold. In other words, you could have a light trickle of rainwater, or acid rain in high winds, leaving me, the guy who likes to have a cold shower before bed, out of luck unless I felt inclined to spend half an hour shivering in a light drizzle.

Those are my smallest complaints. Every Friday and Saturday night the ceremonial game of Nicky Nicky Nine Doors was played by drunken pranksters using their fists in place of doorbells. These games sometimes lasted until 2 A.M., and while I assumed it would only happen during the first week — attributing it to the excitement of a new school year — it happened every weekend for the rest of the year.

Then there was the meal plan. First-year residents are required to buy a plan from the school, which starts at $1,800. While I thought it was a great idea for students to get an idea of how much it would cost to eat, I soon realized that this plan wasn’t made to benefit students. Cafeteria services offered little variety and didn’t help students save money. Most full meals could cost upward of $8.00 each; multiplied by three meals a day, it adds up quick. A full week of cafeteria meals would set you back almost $150; a large sum, considering the Loblaws behind the residence offered a week’s worth of meals for half that much.

But there is a silver lining. The dorms are silent most of the day, which makes a great work environment, and this proved a welcome change from the rambunctious activities of my family back home. The staff and housekeeping do their best to take care of the facilities. In my two months of residence, I only encountered two broken appliances (one was a soda machine that gave me three bottles of coke for the price of one). And while there haven’t been many events yet, I received a friendly invite from my floor’s Resident Advisor any time something comes up.

Many improvements could be made to the residence experience, and even though some problems can’t be remedied, my time here has been good preparation for the real world. For now, I consider it a simulation of what my first apartment might be like, though I hope said apartment won’t have lighting that makes me fear for my life.